A warming Malaysian dish for the cold weekend ahead – Penang Nyonya Fish Curry

Quick Info:
Serves: 4 with accompaniments
Difficulty: easy
Time: 30 mins
2 Sea bream, about 650g to 750g – cleaned and gutted, or 4 Mackerel fillets
3 Tbsp Fish curry powder or 2 Tbsp curry powder with 1 Tbsp of coriander powder if you prefer the curry to be less hot. If you are a Malaysian and like it hotter, add more chillies.

Ingredients A
6 Shallots
3 cloves Garlic
2 cm Ginger
2 tsp Ginger paste ( from jar)

Other Ingredients:

6 Ladies fingers or okra cut into 3 cm lengths
1 Onion – cut into 6 or 8 wedges
½ Egg plant – cut into 1 cm x 1 cm x 4 cm
1 large Tomato cut into 8
4 Bean Curd Puff or Tau Hoo Pok sliced into 3 pieces each (optional)
1 sprig Mint leaves
2 Tsp Tamarind concentrate mixed with 50 ml of water
200 ml Coconut milk
1 Lemon grass – use whole, the fat bulbous part only, smashed.
1 sprig Curry leaves

Spices to pop:
¼ Tsp Fennel seeds
¼ Tsp Cumin seeds
¼ Tsp Black Mustard seeds
¼ Tsp Fenugreek
1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
Salt, sugar to taste

Put A in a food processor and blitz until fine. Add in the curry powder and some water and blitz it to get a paste.
Heat up the oil in a pot, or wok, and throw in the spices and let it pop.
Then add in the curry paste and fry till fragrant. Add in the lemon grass and curry leaves.
Add 200ml of hot water, the tamarind and bring to boil.
Add in the okra, egg-plant, tau hoo pok and onion.
Boil and add in the fish, then the tomato, and gently stir the content or swish it around. Add in the coconut milk and bring it to a quick boil. Add a bit more water if necessary to just cover the content.
Season with salt and some sugar to balance the sourness. Adjust to suit your taste. The flavour should be sour with a balance of sweetness and saltiness.
Garnish with mint leaves before serving.
Serve with rice.

This wonderful Malaysian recipe was provided by Loretta Lee who blogs at nyonyarecipe.com



  1. nigel hunter
    October 26, 2018 / 10:05 am

    I am annoyed!!My printer is not working so I cannot put the recipe down!!

    You ,I trust, do not eat the head?

    Talking about fishes heads I looked at the head of a Wolfish,nasty looking character but thought I would try him for tea.!(the meat that is not his head.)

    • ambitiousmamas
      October 26, 2018 / 10:17 am

      Hi Nigel,

      Feel free to email me your address and I will send you the recipe: ambitiousmamas@gmail.com

      I don’t eat the head either. Rather yukky me thinks but I know of many who do and enjoy it too. Enjoy the Wolfish, a scary looking species.

      thank you

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